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Archive for November, 2013

Emergency Fund Update

November 29th, 2013 at 08:34 pm

I found an error in my savings account, .34 in my favor. Also the weekly auto pay of $10 went through today so was added to the EF.

The new balance of the EF is: $7708.20. I haven't done the payday stuff yet, but will be likely sending a bit more to the EF when I have. I have $11.80 left to hit my monthly goal of $7720.

I added $15.59 to the coin jar today, .25 yesterday and a dime the day before.

Payday Report and Miscellaneous

November 25th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

The weekend was crazy busy so I haven't had a chance to do my payday report from Friday. We went to the ranch on Saturday to pick up our turkey and to purchase about an eight week supply of meat. I wasn't sure when we would make it down that way again. The weather can make it difficult to get to the ranch if it snows or floods. We don't have 4-wheel drive in the van so back country roads can be difficult to navigate.

I will be canning some of the meat we bought. It has been very nice to just be able to crack open a jar of meat and a jar of vegetables when I have felt exhausted or sick and just warm up dinner and have it on the table in 5 or 6 minutes. Or if I think about it in time, just dumping it into the crock pot.

The January Money Fund now sits at $2620.84. Ideally I'd like it at $4000, but I may not have the time to get it there. Fortunately I have bought plenty of meat and have lots of canned veggies, so I won't need to buy much in the way of food in January.

$1000.00 BoA VISA
$1000.00 Loan to Mom
__400.00 Utilities to Mom
__470.00 Ranch Money
__100.00 300 pounds of rabbit feed (cheaper in bulk)
__100.00 Vacation Fund
___72.00 Water/sewer Holding Fund
__600.00 January Money Fund
__100.00 Cash for Week
___40.00 Allowances
___90.00 Physical Therapy
-------------
$3972.00 Money Out

DH ordered a new gasket for our under the fridge freezer. It cost $111, but that sure beats the $1000 or so for a comparable new fridge. It will be easy to replace as it is attached via screws and not adhesive. We really couldn't put it off any longer as the entire compartment is now filled with snow it is so bad.

We did some weatherproofing on the rabbit shed and it has made a huge difference. It was so cold in there before I could see my breath and my feet were going numb before I could finish the chores and the water bottles nearest the windows were freezing. Now none of that is happening. We were able to use supplies on hand so no money was spent on that.

I have physical therapy tomorrow and we will need to pick up a couple of loaves of bread to make stuffing, but otherwise we should not need to spend any more money until after Thanksgiving. We will avoid shopping over the weekend, too. Just not worth the craziness.

DH Tempted Me

November 21st, 2013 at 06:07 pm

DH and I made an agreement when we did this last big Disney trip and paid for his sister and nieces to go, that we wouldn't take another big vacation until 2018 when both kids will have graduated from high school and we are free to go, just the two of us. The plan for 2018 is to go to Hawaii. Meanwhile, we work on all of our other goals.

Well, DH has a friend from work who lives in Hawaii who has invited us to come in May. He has a house on the beach and says all we'd need to bring was about $1000 for incidentals and he would take care of everything else. Wow, nice friend. And we'd be able to fly there free with DH's miles.

But I still can't see doing it right now. We'd have to leave the kids with my mother, who isn't in the best of health right now and we've got all the rabbits and chickens to take care of. Not to mention that May is the time here to start gardening in earnest. Plus DS is being homeschooled.

Yes, it is a tremendous opportunity, but it doesn't fit into any of our plans. DH kind of figured as much, but he still couldn't resist telling me about it. It was nice to dream of getting away for a minute or two, but I've got bigger dreams right now and that is what I want to be focused on, with no more distractions.

Hawaii can wait. It isn't going anywhere. And maybe his friend will still be there then.

Emergency Fund Update

November 21st, 2013 at 09:08 am

$7687.86 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Auto Deposit Added
-----------
$7697.86 Ending Balance

$22.14 to go to hit my November goal of $7720.

$302.14 to go to hit my yearly goal of $8000.

Random Cooking Stuff

November 19th, 2013 at 09:31 pm

Back when we had television service, I used to be addicted to watching cooking shows. I could sit on the couch and lose five hours and all I'd have to show for it is a knit hat or scarf or a few baskets of folded laundry.

I broke that addiction when we got rid of cable and didn't really even think about if for a years. Recently I have discovered little cooking shows on youtube. Fortunately the addictive quality of letting the afternoon disappear is long gone. And when you only have a ten or 15 minute snippet with no commercials you can fit them in just about anywhere. I watch them when doing the bills or trying to hit the daily goal on Swagbucks or folding laundry.

Recently I've come across two that have given me some great recipe ideas and are pretty money-saving. Sicily's post about her crockpot cookbook brought the one to my mind.

The first one is Linda's Pantry and what I really like about it is she does a lot of make ahead freezer crockpot meals. This is where you get all of the main stuff done when you have time, like chopping the meat and browning it, chopping the vegetables, measuring out your spices, adding any stock or sauces. She uses two gallon size baggies, one inside the other, and uses her canning funnel to fill the inner bag, then puts a card with instructions on it between the inside bag and the outside bag. The outside bag is reusable. Then she puts it in the freezer. Often it is for her husband to make when she is away, all he has to do is follow the instructions, dump stuff in the crockpot, and have an easy home cooked meal.

So I am making up lists of the recipes I think we will eat from her videos, but substituting with regular spices. She sells some stuff that she uses and promotes it in each vid, but it's a soft sell. I just ignore that part since we have to be very careful with our spices, herbs, and mixtures due to DS's allergies and my own. They have to be completely clean. Anyway, I am very much enjoying those and think I will save both time and money by making some of these meals up when I feel good to have on hand when I don't.

The other one I have been watching is Our Half Acre Homestead. They do a lot of things with meat and produce they grow themselves. It's more down home and rustic than the other one, but I love it for that quality. She makes simple, easy meals with their home butchered pork, goat, and chickens. She explains things in very simple terms so that even beginner cooks can get the hang of it. And best of all she gives me ideas on what I can do with my own home raised meats. Anything that makes my life easier is welcome.

Meal Planning for the Week

November 18th, 2013 at 01:34 am

Monday:
Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Homemade meatballs (pork/beef)
Cole slaw

Tuesday:
Meatball sandwiches
Canned peaches
Green beans

Wednesday:
Homemade beef stew (carrots, potatoes, green beans)
Homemade fresh bread
Leftover Cole slaw
Oranges

Thursday:
Fried Rabbit
Fried potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Canned pineapple

Friday:
Homemade pizza with homemade sausage, onions, and bell pepper strips
Leftover Cole slaw

Saturday:
Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Leftover broccoli/cauliflower
Homemade apple sauce

Sunday:
Tacos
Bananas

Kindling is Done

November 17th, 2013 at 05:18 pm

Lola had her kits yesterday and Serenity had hers today. We now have 16 more kits and a grand total of 52 rabbits in the rabbitry. We have two newly pregnant does who are due mid-December and then no more breeding until the weather warms up. We lost 2 kits. Lola and Serenity each had 9 and lost 1 each. They were born away from the rest of the litter so couldn't stay warm. Mama rabbits don't sit on their kits, they only cover them with pulled out fur, so they have to huddle together for warmth. We buried them together where the chickens can't get at them. All of the kits have been safely moved to nesting boxes and covered up with fur and hay.

We have plenty of rabbits for our meat needs for the winter, added to the beef and pork we have in the freezer. Now I just need to stock up on some chicken and we should be good until March or so. Although I do want to get some more beef and fish for canning.

We did get a turkey from the ranch. It will be ready for pick up on Saturday. We weren't sure we would get one, but we got on the list soon enough that we did. I am excited for that, because the one we got last year was the best turkey we have ever had.

Today is a no spend day, but tomorrow won't be.

Oh, I took a video of Lola's litter if anyone wants to see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hTadVgJNAA

You can read more about the last two days of kindling if you want on my farm blog, accessed from my side bar under sites I frequent. It's When Did This Become a Farm?

Funds Update

November 17th, 2013 at 02:31 pm

I am putting a copy of my Funds totals here in case something goes wrong transferring stuff between laptops. This is the first time in my life I've ever had so much money saved up. Almost $14K and it will be over that by month's end.

After our next mortgage payment on Friday we will have more money in the Emergency Fund than we owe on the mortgage. That feels incredible.

$2024.84 January Money Fund
$7687.86 Emergency Fund
___76.00 Dues Fund
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Propane Fund
__300.00 Vacation Fund (Hawaii 2018)
__600.00 Appliance Fund
__300.00 Moving Fund
__900.00 College Fund
_1200.00 Laptop Fund (using to pay off same as cash)
__700.00 Christmas Fund
------------
13988.70 Total in Savings

Payday Report and Rabbit Stuff

November 15th, 2013 at 09:11 pm

I spent just under $60 on take away today. We will get several meals from it. I just know this weekend is going to be a little stressful and I may or may not be up to cooking too much. We have 2 litters due and the temps have dropped to freezing which means an awful lot of checking on the rabbits will be done on Saturday and Sunday to make sure no kits are born on the wire, but are born safely in a nest or at least promptly put into one if they are not. I have been lucky so far in that all of the kindlings so far have resulted in only one kit born on the wire (on Phoebe's first kindling) and I was there within five minutes of it happening so we were able to save it.

I'm not too worried about Lola, but this is Serenity's first litter, so I pretty much will be doing hourly checks for the next two days. Which means a lot of walking and since my physical therapist had a migraine today and I cancelled last week due to illness, I am not in the best shape for that right now. I've had to use the cane twice this week. But it needs to be done and I'm sure the kids will take their turns at it and alert me if I need to go out and take action.

Anyway, today was payday so here is the list of money that went out:

$225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
__19.00 HoA Dues Fund
_200.00 Laptop Fund
__72.56 Internet
__47.52 Phone Old House
__41.94 Garbage
_500.00 BoA VISA
_757.82 Van Loan (plus extra)
------------
$2463.84 Total Money Out

Emergency Fund Update and Bonus Thoughts

November 15th, 2013 at 04:19 pm

I deposited the coin jar money into the safety net portion of the Emergency Fund today. It was $43. I also sent $100 to C1-360 to the primary EF.

$7534.86 Beginning EF Balance
___43.00 Coin Jar Money
+_100.00 Monthly Deposit
-------------
$7687.86 Ending EF Balance

That leaves me with $33.14 to come up with this month to meet my November EF goal of $7720. I've got 2 more Thursdays this month, so that will take care of $20 of it, so really only $13.14 to scrape up. That should be easy enough.

I am hoping to have it to $8000 by the end of the year. That's a bit of a stretch, but I think I can do it.

DH found out that bonuses come out on December 20th, so we should get it by the end of December. I have no idea what to expect. The first year he worked for this company the bonus was 10% of yearly income. The 2nd year it was 5% of yearly income, because they only had small projects. DH says they did a lot of big projects this year and big projects usually come with more bonus money.

10% would be fantastic. It would mean putting aside enough to finish funding DD's first year at community college and having enough left over to pay the mortgage off (It's just over $8200), with a tiny chunk to the EF. 5% would still be pretty awesome, meaning having enough to pay for her college and having a small chunk left over to go to the EF.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for 10%, but I will still be happy with anything they give us.

Coin Jar Update

November 15th, 2013 at 08:34 am

Since today is payday, I cleaned out my purse and put all the ones and coins into the coin jar. I add $10.53. I kept back 2 quarters to pay the parking meter. I like to keep at least that much on hand in case I can't find free parking at the library.

Hopefully I will be able to make a deposit today. I can pop over there after physical therapy today if I remember and don't feel like a bruised puppy afterwards. Physical therapy will be $90, assuming she doesn't cancel on me this week due to illness.

Long Day with Good Food at the End

November 13th, 2013 at 07:02 pm

I am glad I didn't get around to making the baked potato soup last night. I was definitely in need of comfort food tonight. And it turned out beautifully:



I had to make the roux twice, though. The first time I wasn't paying attention and didn't even look at the flour DD had brought up, just dumped it in. Well, there was a dead miller moth in it. Fortunately that was the end of a bag of flour. Unfortunately, I ,had to throw out 2/3 of a cup of butter. Ouch. With butter so expensive these days, losing over a stick of it does not feel good.

How is it possible to have such a long day on such a short day? Well, I suppose having to deal with DD's evil teacher is probably why it felt so long. I totally see what DD means. The woman is a master manipulator and it was one of the first things I called her on. Let's just say woman got schooled, hard. And we got the assignments that DD should have got in the first place.

I have to say the counselor and person from admin were top rate. Neither could understand why DD hadn't been given her assignments in the first place. Teacher really was falling all over herself. The VP wasn't there. No reason given, she was supposed to be. Oh, well. Evil teacher is now on notice that her crap won't fly with us. I do wish DH could have been there. I think his physical stature alone would have cowed her even if he is the kindest, most gentle soul, but I managed all on my own at my little 5 foot 5 inches to put her in her place. It did take a lot out of me though.

Today was a no spend day, but tomorrow won't be. I really should go to the store tonight, but I am just too tired. I know I will regret not having caffeine in the morning, but I will stop at the store after taking DD to school.

Meal Planning for the Week

November 12th, 2013 at 12:26 am

I am getting really bad about posting my menu plans. I am still cooking meals, I just keep forgetting to post them ahead of time. I find it helpful when I do, and it helps me stick to my budget, it's just been super crazy around here lately. I got 8 quarts of rabbit stock canned today and made 2 quarts of rabbit vegetable noodle soup for dinner. It was so good. It blows chicken soup right out of the water. And see how good it looks:



Continuing on the soup theme:

Tuesday:
Baked potato soup
Homemade bread
Oranges

Wednesday:
Beef stew (beef, carrots, potatoes, green beans, gravy)
Pears

Thursday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Homemade garlic bread
Cole slaw

Friday:
Homemade pizza (sausage, onions, bell peppers)
Oranges


Saturday:
Roasted chicken
Baked potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Drop biscuits with choice of homemade jams

Sunday:
Chicken quesadillas
Chips and homemade salsa
Salad

Credit Score Went Up

November 12th, 2013 at 12:16 am

So my credit score went up at Experian. It is now 799. Boy it is hard to break 800. I think this is in response to the car loan dropping below a certain amount and the mortgage going under $10K in the last couple of months. Everything is in great shape on there, nothing that shouldn't be is on there and everything that should be is. This all bodes very well for when we buy our next house. That is assuming the old one sells.

Some Frugalish Things

November 10th, 2013 at 10:17 pm

So my mom's handyman's wife does alterations and I got her to replace the zipper on my jacket. It cost $20. I thought it was a great deal, because it included the zipper, which was 27 inches long. And it's a better zipper than the original. My five-year-old jacket now has many more years of life left in it. I just need to be careful when I am holding the young rabbits. They are what chewed through the zipper in the first place. And then the tab fell off.

I could have gone through the rigamarole of shipping it back to Land's End and making them replace the jacket, but I kind of felt like a rabbit chewing through the zipper wasn't a failure on their part. Plus they would have just pulled the, "Well, it's not exactly the same as the newly designed squall jackets, so it doesn't count as something we will replace for free." I figured it would be more likely I'd be out the shipping for sending it back and then have to pay for them to send it back to me when they denied it, so was a better deal just to have it fixed.

She did a great job. I can't even tell it is an aftermarket change. $20 is a good deal for me, especially since that jacket now costs $139. It was like $75 or something when I first got it. There might have been a coupon involved.

I also sewed up a hole in my sweatpants seam.

My daughter needed a new bag for school. Her backpack basically fell apart on Friday. So we found one on clearance for $15, originally $30 at Kmart. They also had canning jars for $10, so I picked up a case of quart jars. I wanted to buy a couple of pairs of sweat pants, but they didn't have any women's. They had men's, teen's, boy's, and girl's, but all they had in women's was light weight knit pants. Yeah, cause that is what I want to wear on these 40 degree F mornings.

After that we walked over to the Good Will next door and purchased some of those bowls with handles that I think were originally used for those really big fancy coffees, but we use them as soup bowls or for really big cups of tea.

I looked at both places for a 12 quart stockpot because I would like a second one, but Good Will did not have more than an 8 quart stockpot and the only one they had at Kmart was an ugly, light blue, mottled ceramic one by Paula Deen. Right size, but not in my kitchen. I prefer stainless steel anyway. I may have to put it on my Christmas list for the in-laws.

I can muddle through with one for a while longer, it would just be nice to have two pots of stock going at once so I can pressure can the results all at once instead of in batches. I mean the big canner can do 14 quarts of stock at once, so I'd like to take advantage of that and save the time. Actually, come to think of it, I could do my second batch of stock in the smaller canner. It's got the capacity to cook 12 quarts of stock, even if it can only can 9.

I think I will have to order my sweats from a catalogue. And maybe some warmer PJ's while I'm at it. Do they make king size flannel sheets? I can never find them.

Still Frustrated

November 8th, 2013 at 11:27 pm

So I've got an appointment set up for Wednesday with the principal, guidance counselor, and the horrible teacher. That woman is a piece of work, I tell you. She knew she was supposed to have the work for DD to get today. My daughter waited before school until one minute before the bell rang and the teacher was not in her classroom. She had to run to not be late to her first class.

Then after school, no sign of the teacher. She waited 15 minutes. The classroom was open and the lights on, just no teacher. I think she did it on purpose. And I think she'll try to play it like DD didn't show up for it. I am beyond livid. B***h is going down. Sorry for the language, I seldom get worked up enough to think it, let alone sort of type it out.

Oh, well, nothing to be done now. I have a weekend that does not need to be taken up with anger and resentment.

I got 10 quarts of rabbit meat canned today and plan to make soup and soup stock for canning tomorrow with all the ribcage pieces. Hoping to get at least 10 quarts of that canned as well. I also want to do 25 pounds of organic potatoes and the store has wild caught fresh Keta salmon on sale for $2.49 a pound so want to get about 3 of those to can. I also want to do a batch of pickles.

I picked up some pears at $1 a pound. I am not probably going to can pears this year, but I did want to enjoy them while they are in season and less expensive. Maybe after I get everything done this weekend I will have a different opinion on canning some. We'll see. I am definitely planting pear trees when we move. Then we can at least be assured of good organic pears eventually.

I've gotten my files from the big box store. Now I just need to update them and I can do a payday report for last week. I'm behind, but nothing is urgent at the moment. If the computer was going to go belly up, now was a good time of the pay cycle to do it.

EF Update

November 7th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Today was the weekly auto deposit to savings of $10. I transferred it the to Emergency Fund.

$7524.86 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Amount Added
------------
$7534.86 New EF Balance

Also, what is up with the hit counts? Is it just me or are they going crazy? I just hit 3 million a couple months ago. Now it's at almost 7 million. I don't think my blog is that compelling.

Some Teachers...

November 6th, 2013 at 05:42 pm

...should never be allowed anywhere near children.

What do you do about a teacher that refuses to give your kid the work they missed while they were absent with a legitimate and excused illness?

First day my daughter was back at school after missing a week and she asked for the assignments the teacher's response was, "I don't have them."

The second day she was back she asked for the assignments the teacher said, "Get the from someone else," even though they had all been turned in so there was no one else to get them from.

The third day she was back she asked again for the assignment packet that according to the teacher's own syllabus says she will provide. Again the teacher would not provide the assignment packet, saying get it tomorrow. She did not have it the next day, either.

DD let it go a week as she was tired of dealing with it. Well, now the teacher has handed back the packets so the class can do additional work off the packet and she still won't give one to my daughter, even though she gave them to a couple of other kids who were also out with this bug.

She is also saying in class that anxiety orders do not exist and they are just an excuse for kids to get out of work they don't want to do, like standing in front of the class and giving a presentation. My daughter's doctor has diagnosed her with social anxiety that often will induce asthma. Daughter had to leave the class for an attack and the teacher talked about her behind her back while she was out according to the other students. Daughter still does her oral presentations and does not try to get out of them.

Another student overheard this teacher gossiping about my daughter with another teacher and it got back to my daughter.

I really don't want to get into another stink with the school district after all we went through with the middle school principal and my son, but this woman is unresponsive and not doing her job. She resents the fact that my daughter has been absent so much, even though the absences have all be excused.

If she is unresponsive to my messages again I guess I have to take the next step and contact the principal. I know this is a different principal, but my experience with the other donkey has colored all of my thoughts when it comes to administration.

My daughter has never complained about a teacher at her high school before, ever, except to say one couldn't control the class. She has nothing but negative words about this woman. She's had her for other classes over the years and says she is just getting progressively worse. I've heard my daughter's friends talking about her as well, saying that she doesn't listen and punishes kids passively aggressively for being absent when they get back and ridicules them in class when they are gone and to other teachers.

I am very frustrated. I don't understand how someone who behaves like that is allowed to keep her job. I know she's been reported by other students and parents on numerous occasions. My niece, who is a substitute teacher, says she hears complaints about this woman every time she teaches at my daughter's school. I wish they would kick out bad teachers. They just shouldn't be allowed near kids.

Coin Jar Update

November 6th, 2013 at 08:28 am

DH went back to Alaska last night and cleaned out his wallet before he left. I cleaned out my purse, too. I had $14.79 in coins and ones to add to the coin jar.

Menu Planning

November 6th, 2013 at 08:27 am

I keep forgetting to post my menu planning. I'll just start from today and go through Sunday. I'm trying to keep to in season foods as much as possible on the fruits and veggies.

Wednesday:
Baked potato soup
Leftover pot roast
Apples

Thursday:
Fried rabbit
Mashed potatoes
Green beans
Pears

Friday:
Rabbit vegetable and noodle soup
Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
Apples

Saturday:
Homemade pizza
Cole slaw

Sunday:
Roasted Chicken
Baked potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower
Oranges

I Can't Seem to Kick this Virus

November 4th, 2013 at 06:55 pm

I am getting very frustrated with my body right now. This virus just won't go away. It's not full force anymore, it is better, but I'd like to breathe through my nose without having to blow it ten times first. *sighs*

My laptop stopped working again. The exact same problem that they supposedly fixed the last time. It turns on, but does nothing. And it won't work plugged into a monitor. So seems to me that the part they "replaced" they either didn't replace or didn't replace it correctly. Plus the fan isn't working.

So I'm using the back up laptop, which I hate because it is Windows 8 and has a touch screen, and a mouse that likes to randomly do whatever the heck it wants just to screw with you. Even if you turn off all that stuff. And of course I haven't saved anything to a flash drive in the past two days so my November budget and my rabbit kit weight tracking spreadsheet and my EF and HT spreadsheets were all updated yesterday, but I am sick and not thinking clearly and did not back them up.

DH is going to try a few things and then if he can't get it working temporarily enough to grab those things I need off the desktop, we'll have to pay for it to be recovered. But not repaired because it is still under the service contract. I just want them to really fix it this time. And I hope they don't try to give me a new laptop instead. I want my Win7 and my comfortable keyboard that can keep up with my typing speed. I don't want a new Win8 stupidhead touchscreen that will have a nervous breakdown in 5 minutes from the time you turn it on replacement.

Sorry to be such a whiner today.

I have had some expenses and need to do a payday report, but of course that will have to wait until I can access those things again.

/rant

Did Pretty Well With Swagbucks in October

November 1st, 2013 at 10:30 am

I managed to get $50 worth of gift cards from Swagbucks again this month. This is the second month running. I also hit my daily goals every day again this month, so that bonus should hit in a few days. I also lucked out on a big survey that should be credited in another 2 days.

If November goes this well, I will have over $300 in Amazon gift cards to spend on Christmas, along with the cash I've been saving each month. It's really nice to know that Christmas is taken care of and I won't have to last minute scrimp and save. Starting to save a set amount early in the year really does make all the difference.

Interest to EF

November 1st, 2013 at 10:21 am

The interest from my C1-360 account hit. It is $6.25. I added it to the Emergency Fund.

$7518.61 Beginning Balance
+___6.25 Amount Added
$7524.86 Ending Balance

$195.14 to go to meet my November goal.